When you read the title to this post, did you start singing it? … right about the time you read the word “heart”?
Joy to the World !
The Lord is come !
Let earth receive her King!
Let e-e-v’ry-y hear-r-rt,
prepa-re Him roo-oo-oom!
(I know you’re singing now for sure !)
It’s the Christmas season you know ! and time to “prepare” … prepare for the holidays …the parties, the special church events and neighborhood events, community events, buying the gifts and wrapping them, decorating, pulling out that Christmas cd you love to listen to (or switching your Pandora station for a few weeks !), preparing for family time and trips to visit those you love. The preparations span from those who begin preparing for Christmas in January — buying gifts and decorations at the “after-Christmas” sales — to those brave and adventurous one’s who wait until Christmas Eve, fighting the crowds and traffic all the way home. It’s what we do. It’s what we know.
Part of the season is listening to all the great Christmas songs you’ve tucked away with the ornaments from last year. It’s almost like the boxes of decorations have been holding the music in since last Christmas and the minute you open the box, the music bursts forth like a choir whose held their breath — finally able to release those joyful sounds ! With each opening of a box of decorations, the music begins wafting through the entire house and down the streets –” repeating the sounding joy” !
Christmas music officially went on-air in our van Thanksgiving night, I believe. We respectfully wait for the turkey to cool and that last slice of pumpkin pie to be served … and then Christmas is fair game!
We sing these songs over and over again– adding our harmonies and fa-la-la’s –but every now and then, time seems to stop just a minute and a word or phrase rings out in a new way.
“Prepare Him Room !”
Prepare “WHO” room? “What” room? “When” do I need to prepare this room? “How” do I do this? And , heaven forbid, is this another part of the house I need to decorate?
My husband and I just hosted our first overnight guests at our new little cottage this last week . Since our house is small, we wanted to maximize the space as much as possible — making sure our guests felt cozy and warm without feeling cramped. There’s also the balance of giving your guests some space without sitting snugly on the couch beside them the entire time — arm wrapped around — ecstatic to be with them !
We prepared ! At our house, that included getting the actual “room” ready with freshly washed sheets and towels and some extra decorations for fun . Food is next on the list of preparations with my husband doing the food shopping — with a grocery list of food with those we love in mind –with popcorn and pumpkin bread to share. We also try to think of fun things to do — balancing it out with a lot of just being-together-kind-of- moments — without any agenda.
Food. Home. Fun. Conversation. Ready!
…and as I prepared our home (listening to Christmas music, of course) — the phrase from “Joy to the World” seemed to strike a distinct chord in my mind …”prepare Him room”.
“Him” ~ Jesus — the baby born in a manger over 2,000 years ago …the event of a life-time … the humble appearing of God — with us ! He even sent a “talking birth announcement” through an interesting messenger named John so we could get ready …
A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the LORD ; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Isaiah 40:3
…‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ Matthew 11:10
And even though that “event” happened thousands of years ago, we’re still preparing every year for the birthday party of Jesus! …sort of !
Our preparations include lots of gifts, for sure, and music filling the air of the Savior’s birth but I pondered if I had asked Jesus what HE really wanted for Christmas — what food did He enjoy …what would be fun for Him to ‘do’ during the holidays. After all, this is HIS birthday, right ?
With our adult children and grandchildren all coming in for the holidays (and might I mention, I’m head-over-heels-excited about that !!!), we’re making preparations for comfortable places for everyone to sleep and clearing spots for family games and fun and food — lots of food. We’re asking them what expectations they might have because we want it to be special and memorable for all of us. We’re “preparing them room”.
And I “ wonder as I wander out under the sky” how to prepare for the Savior’s birthday celebration — the birth that has changed my life in such dramatic fashion …the birth that has given life to my own soul ! This Jesus, the Savior, Who “… did come for to die — For poor on’ry people like you and like I.”
What’s His favorite food? I know He was a regular at parties and social events so there must be some choice morsel He prefers. Of course I think of things I’ve read about that He likes …
…My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. John 4:34
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Romans 14:17
But then I also read of Jesus enjoying weddings and feasts and turning water into wine and eating with a lot of interesting dinner hosts so it seems His “meat” is being with people and doing what His Father loves best in the process.
Then what kind of room would He like? Based on other words from Jesus, it seems He’s into that sort of thing — preparing rooms and such– for others to enjoy …
In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:2–3
It seems He’s really into us being with Him and having a place in our heart more than having fine furnishings and that sought after pillow top mattress to sleep on. It’s almost as if He’d just curl up on the couch like my recent house-guest did and just enjoy the sounds of the train making its way down the track at night . Is it possible He’s like that too?
Let’s talk activities though… what kind of things does He like to DO while visiting this time? Would He enjoy walking through the neighborhood, talking with everyone we saw along the way? Would He sit with our elderly neighbors, listening to their stories of days gone by? Would He buy some handmade soap and lotion from another neighbor and rant and rave over her using such good products that He, ironically, created!? Would He sit on the front porch for good conversation? Isn’t this kind of activity really His favorite “meat” after all?
Would He enjoy looking at the Christmas lights even though so much of it is commercialized and off-centered in its focus? Would He talk about how proud He is of the creativity of the people He loves?
Something tells me that to prepare a room for Jesus is very much the same as preparing a room for my dear friends and family …it’s all centered around being together and enjoying each other’s company. The food, the decorations, the atmosphere of candles and comfort, and the activities of each day all surrounding being with each other and doing life together. Could it be that Jesus just wants to be with us as we go through the day — enjoying the same sights and sounds and smells we enjoy?
“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” —which means, “God with us.”
Of course, as we walk together, something tells me He’ll shed some light of His own into each moment and we’ll never be the same!
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12